Friday, December 9, 2011

Estill Springs

I told someone recently that I would try to take some pictures of Estill Springs, so this morning on a cold and clear early December day I headed in that direction to do a little exploring.
Estill Springs is a small community of a little over 2000 people located half way between Tullahoma and Winchester and during all of these years that I lived in this area I really only used Estill as a pass-through.
I had driven through Estill occasionally on the way to the base to work out.
Driven through Estill on the way to Winchester or Sewanee.
Driven through Estill as I was on the hunt for yard sale finds or to reach the fitness club where I took spin classes for a few months during a Winter a few years ago.
And driven through on the way to pick up one son or the other or both when they went to high school in Winchester.
At one point in the past I was seriously interested in buying a house in Estill Springs. 
It was a lovely A-frame home and the green tin roof it had made the home look like a giant tent.
I loved the house and particularly loved the fact that it was out of town and close to the base where the trails and Woods Reservoir were located.
Because there were so few A-frame homes in the region (and therefore few comps to compare prices) the bank was hesitant to finance it and I ended up instead buying the home we have now.
There are a number of businesses in Estill Springs and most are independant small businesses.
A mom and pop restaurant or two, a gas station or two, a Dollar Store, a store that makes signs, a few small financial and doctors offices and not much else.
Because Estill Springs is half way between two larger towns most people chose to do their shopping and banking in those towns, and I suspect that I am not the only person who blows through Estill Springs on the way to someplace else.
The community has a small post office and small police station, a small fire station, a small city hall.
Mostly the homes are nice ranch style homes on large lots.
Tims Ford State Park is also close, and Estill Springs has many homes located on the water in the many coves in the area that are part of Tims Ford Lake.
I headed south on 41A and had traveled only a few minutes on the four lane highway before pulling off to take pictures of the Drive-In.
Truthfully I am not sure whether the Drive-In is classified as part of Tullahoma or Estill Springs, but since the number of Drive-Ins in the United States is so small thought I would stop for a few minutes to take some pictures of it.
It is a heavily used facility and considered to be a real asset to the area.
The Drive-In.............
I wrote at one point not long ago that Jackson Street in Tullahoma is a surprisingly and unenviably busy street that effectively cuts Tullahoma down the center.
It contains a huge number of businesses of every kind from independently owned to national chains, but for a town of 19,000 people the traffic is ridiculously high.
I stay away from the road just as much as I can which is normally not a difficult task (except, I am finding, during the Christmas season).
This 4 lane highway that I was on this morning is the same road.
41A south takes you to Estill Springs and Winchester, 41A north is known as Jackson Street through Tullahoma and eventually takes you to a town called Shelbyville.
After living recently in a state such as Wyoming even writing that now feels foreign.
So many towns and so close together.
In Wyoming drives on highways take you through long (sometimes hours long) stretches of nothing but Bureau of Land Management lands.
The Cumberland Plateau can be seen in the picture below, off in the distance..............
Estill Springs post office.  Next door is the police department and next door to that is the fire department and ambulance service...........
The Sample Family Restaurant is located a few doors down from the government small-strip-mall-like storefronts, is a mom and pop independently owned restaurant that provides typical southern cooking in large helpings.
I have not eaten there since arriving back in Tennessee but remember the food being very good.
Judging from the packed parking lot they are doing very good business, and in this economy it is good to see a small business succeeding in a small community..............
On the far end of the community is a turnoff that leads down to both this church and a boat ramp.
I pulled into the church parking lot, climbed out of the truck and walked down the grassy hill towards the water.
One cove in a place of many coves.
It was a cold day but very clear and very beautiful and I enjoyed the brief reprieve from far too much traffic.
41A is a busy highway and a noisy highway and it also parallels the railroad tracks.
Too much noise and I have little tolerance for it all, but the water (even though the level has been lowered for the Winter) was wonderful to be walking beside............
Private boat docks belonging to the home owners who live adjacent to the church.
There are many many churches in Estill Springs.............
After leaving the church I backtracked a little and turned on to a side road that led directly down to the Estill Springs Town Park.
I have blown by this park more times than I could even count and this morning did not expect to spend much time there.
I anticipated taking a few pictures of baseball diamonds and the children's play park and then moving on, but as I continued driving slowly down the narrow paved road inside the park I realized that the road was actually much longer than I expected, and that there was a back section to the park that I had not known anything about for all this time.
The road led to a quiet point on the lake and as I pulled in I saw that there was a man fishing from the sandy edge of the water on the left side of the point.
Picnic tables, a picnic shelter, and a wide open section of Tims Ford Lake.
I had no idea that all of this was so accessible and for the first time today felt excited about my decision to explore what I had taken for granted was familiar territory.
It was far enough away from the four lane to be quiet.
The water was low and glassy, the sky was blue, and happily all that I could hear around me were ducks.
What a surprising gift on what I anticipated would be a straightforward and quick trip to Estill............
This is a town park so I expect that when the weather is warm in Spring and Summer this place is crowded.
But today I shared the park with only one fisherman who left not long after I arrived...........
A small flock of geese flying noisily across the lake..........
This sandy and muddy section of lake is underwater in Spring and Summer.............
When I was walking and wandering while living in Juneau, I began taking pictures whenever I came across examples of the small stone alters that residents of Alaska's capital city seemed to so frequently enjoy building along the rocky coast line.
Without realizing it I have now begun taking pictures whenever I come across fishing bobbers that are stuck in trees along the shore lines of Tennessee's lakes.
Which also seems to happen frequently.
I found this one today during my time at the park............
Look closely.  The bobber is in the picture.............
Looking back in the direction I had come as I headed towards a wooden pier.
As I walked further I could easily imagine how beautiful this area would be next Summer when the water level was higher and the trees were covered in leaves...........
I was extremely surprised to see that people could camp at this park............
After retrieving my truck I drove back to the front section of the park.
This is what I thought the park was all about.
The front section has the predictable childrens' play equipment and baseball diamonds and picnic tables, but also contains a basketball court, a Boy Scout building and a saddle club (complete with bleachers and display area).
This urban park was much bigger, much more eclectic and much more beautiful than I had expected and I greatly enjoyed my time there.............
I noticed this industrial looking building on the way to the park and pulled off the highway to investigate, curious to know what I was looking at.
A sign by the entrance gate told me that it was a feed mill for the Tyson Chicken Company...........
One final look at my truck sitting at the point.............

More information about Estill Springs:


  1. Your getting warmer! Sooo close, if you would have turned at the stoplight,onto Eastbrook Road and continued a few blocks, you could have gone for a walk at the Taylor Creek Greenway. There isn't much to see there right now, but from early spring to early fall, it is beautiful there.

    If you would have continued about 1 1/2 miles down Eastbrook Road you would have found me, I live across the road from the now vacant country store, which is on the other side of the bridge.

  2. Wanda,

    I was actually at the greenway in early October. You're right. It's gorgeous there!

  3. If the link doesn't work it's a blog post from October 8 (forgetting to lock the gate).